Craig McDonald: Sports Leader, Karate Champion

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Craig with his trophies from the WUKF World Karate Championships

Craig McDonald is a sixth year pupil and sports enthusiast. He became a sports leader last year and has been running the sports 4 all club on Friday lunchtime ever since. This year he is also coaching a Primary 3 football team in St Peter’s Primary. In June he won the WUKF World Karate Championships, 18-20 team rotation and individual team fighting.

 
What got you interested in sport?
I got involved in sports because I had an interest in playing a wide variety of sports from a young age. I’ve always had an interest and wanted to be involved with sports.
Why did you want to become a Sports Leader ?
 I was inspired to be a sports leader as I realised the importance of my own coaches as a youngster and the difference they could make to ensure people enjoyed sports and could improve at the sport. In this role I am able to interact with youngsters and try to encourage and them to improve and most importantly enjoy the sport that they are taking part in.
What is your favourite sport?
I really like football, golf and karate but I’d have to say karate is my favourite sport. Competing at the highest level has given me the opportunity to visit countries I would not ordinarily have visited such as Serbia and Poland making friends from different countries along the way. I really enjoy the training as it keeps me fit and prepares me well for competitions.

 

The Sports 4 All Club is one of the most popular clubs at St Matthew’s. Once a week pupils are given the opportunity to try out new sports which they may have not played before including Wheelchair Basketball,Sitting Volleyball and Boccia. Boccia is described by the Great British Boccia Federation as ‘a sport designed for athletes with severe impairments and has no Olympic equivalent . It is a target ball sport similar in principle to bowls but is played inside with soft leather balls. It is a sport of intriguing tactics; incredible skill and nail biting tension.’ These sports differ from some of the other clubs on offer as they place everyone, no matter their physical ability, on an equal playing field.

Halloween Charity Fundraiser

On Friday 28th October 6th year pupils raised £263 for the Brightest Star Charity. To celebrate Halloween the pupils came into school in fancy dress and donated £3 to the chosen charity so that this annual event would help support bereaved families across Scotland.

For more information about the Brightest Star Charity please visit http://www.brighteststar.org.uk

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Ellie Fulton and Cloe Reid

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S6 gather for their year group photo

 

 

 

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Mario and the gang!

 

 

 

Échange Scolaire à Paris

A School Exchange in Paris

 

Unlike the majority of my peers, I was fortunate enough to have been blessed with early exams this year; thus resulting in 2 weeks of freedom whilst everyone else studied hard. A similar situation occurred last year (I just seem to have all the luck) where I had one week of exam free bliss, which I soon discovered was not in fact bliss but extremely boring since all my friends were too busy studying to do anything fun. For this reason, I decided to make the most of this year’s study leave and improve my French by visiting my friends in Paris; whom I hadn’t seen since last summer. My luck continued as I soon discovered while planning my trip that my friends’ exams weren’t until June so I would be able to attend school with them. Finally, I would be able to make a true account of an ‘échange scolaire’ that I had been writing in my French exam for 2 years. As I entered Lycée Blomet, my first impression was one of shock, as all I witnessed was chaos everywhere as groups of pupils ran up and down the corridors, shouting and throwing stink bombs and confetti. Fortunately, I was quickly informed that it just so happened that the week I was there was the last week of school for the Terminale (6th year) and it was tradition to cause as much havoc as possible to try to get expelled before the week was up! For me this was just more entertainment, however the teachers had me assured that this was indeed a very good school and the pupils did not normally behave like this.

Other than the distinct difference in end of year tradition, I found – to my surprise – few other contrasts from our school. There was, of course, the case of the toilets being communal and in addition to that the size of the classrooms were smaller and more cramped with only one computer in the whole class, solely for the teacher’s use. The only other major difference that was most definitely unexpected was that the teachers were the ones to move classes instead of the pupils so I ended up spending the majority of the week in the one class, only moving for the chosen subjects.

In France, you don’t choose subjects but rather which type of bac (their equivalent of Highers) you want to achieve: Literature, Science or Economics. Since my friend, Cécile, was in the Literature section, I was in History, French and English Literature all in the same classroom with all the same people. However, there is room for selection, which for Cécile was Italian and German, as well as basic Maths and Science that is compulsory for the Literature pupils. The specific Literature classes, I found, were less based on pupil interaction and more centred around the teacher talking and the pupils taking notes. However, I found the language classes to be very interactive and it came as a shock for me to see that they actually spoke English in English class, studying texts with words even I didn’t know!

All in all, this was an extremely enjoyable and educational experience for me that I would recommend to anyone with an interest in languages and I must say, although the French reputation for food is simply exquisite, I’d still take our canteen any day!

By Brittany Flood

 

 

 

 

Meet the Groups: St Vincent De Paul

 

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Packaging donations for the Foodbank

What is the aim of the group?

To serve the local community wherever they need it like the founder Frederic Ozanam.

 

What kind of tasks are members of the group met with?

At our weekly meetings we start with a prayer followed by a reflection piece one of our members will have created. We then talk about the work achieved the previous week, plan for the following week, and then close with a prayer. On the Monday following food bank Friday we pack up the food for the foodbank.

 

How does the group help others?

Foodbank Friday, food parcels, Playlists for Life, Winter coolies campaign…

 

The group try and support as wide an area of the community as possible. With out Winter Woolies Campaign hats, gloves and scarves were donated to the homeless. A number of iPods and earphones were donated to the Playlist for Life campaign to help those with dementia. Our members collect non-perishable foods on a monthly basis from the school community and packages them up for donations to the foodbank. Some of our members work and have worked in the the foodbank at the weekends. The parishes are extremely grateful for the food parcels and at Christmas and in recent years the number of made up has increased greatly so thank you to all for their contributions.

 

What has the group achieved in the past years?

The group has supported the local foodbank for a number of years now and this has been a great support for them as it is a constant supply. They find that they have busy periods for donations but the need for food parcels is always there. We also make up food parcels to give out to the parishes for those in need over Christmas.

 

What are the aims for members this year?

We are looking for our members to of out into the local care homes to give technical support for IPads, IPods and IPhones, We also will continue with our highly successful Foodbank Friday project.

An Interview by Chloe O’Neil

Taiji: Small town, Big secret

Along the idyllic coastline of Taiji, Japan, there is a cove which hosts one of the most unknown, inhumane animal slaughters. Every year, from September to April, dolphins are found, manipulated, and either taken for a torturous life of captivity, or butchered for their Mercury poisoned meat.
Every morning, at sunrise, a dozen fishermen set out in their ‘banger’ boats, in the hope of finding a pod of dolphins – ranging from the traditional Bottlenose Dolphins to the less common Striped Dolphins. Once a pod is located, the fishermen exploit the dolphin’s primary sense – sound. They build a “wall” of sound, which directs them to where they are netted into the holocaust venue – the cove.
 the blood of the affectionate, magnificent mammals, turns the ocean red – indicating a “red cove” day.
Stressed, starved, and scared, the dolphins huddle together in attempt to protect their family, while trainers from marine parks around the world examine them by measuring and comparing, in attempt to find the dolphin which will generate the most money. Those who don’t live up to the standards of the animal abusing organisations are butchered and the blood of the affectionate, magnificent mammals, turns the ocean red – indicating a “red cove” day. This ends the horrendous ordeal the dolphins have suffered, and their meat is then taken to the butcher house to be prepared for selling in Japan.
The dolphin drive hunts are considered to be a part of the Japanese culture, however, the documentary “The Cove”, proves that a lot of the Japanese population are unaware of the hunts. Half of the time, they are not aware that they are even purchasing dolphin meat, as it is often put on the market as expensive whale meat, when in actual fact it is dolphin meat which contains dangerously high levels of Mercury. This results in a lot of mercury poisoning within the population, which can harm the brain, heart, kidneys, lungs and immune system. The exposure of the high levels of mercury from the dolphin meat is a reason in itself why the dolphin hunts should cease.
Although the awareness of the slaughter is increasing across the globe, there was still 631 of the innocent, intellectual mammals slaughtered and 118 taken for captivity in 2015. By buying a ticket to a dolphin show, you are giving the fishermen fuel to continue this massacre, as they can secure up to £150,000 for a dolphin. Be a voice for the voiceless and say no to captivity. End this holocaust. Let the dolphins live in liberty, after all, “All good things are wild and free.”
“All good things are wild and free.”
By Bethany Alexander

5 Tips You Need Before You Submit Your Personal Statement

Plan ahead.

At times it can appear as though your school life revolves around deadlines and your UCAS application is certainly not something you want to do in a hurry. So to avoid a last minute panic start early. On the UCAS website you can find a sample structure for your personal statement which is a good place to start your planning. Allow yourself plenty of time so that you can re-draft the statement a few times before submitting.

 

UCAS Resources

https://www.ucas.com/sites/default/files/personal-statement-mind-map.pdf

https://www.ucas.com/ucas/undergraduate/getting-started/when-apply/writing-ucas-undergraduate-personal-statement

Know what is expected.

When you begin to write your personal statement it is important that you understand exactly what is expected. In your statement you should address 2 points: motivation; why you want to study the course, and suitability; why you will be successful at College or University while studying the course. While tackling the motivation section try to avoid using general phrases such as ‘I have a passion for’ and instead focus on the specific areas of the course which interest you or what career you wish to enter into by studying this course as this displays and greater knowledge of the subject and the course. Another point to consider is the character limit. For a UCAS personal statement the word limit is 4000 characters, including spaces, which initially can seem like a lot but disappears quickly once you start writing.

Do your research.

Make sure that you display an understanding of what skills are needed or helpful for the course you wish to study. Some skills such as communication skills and time management span almost courses however it is important that you prioritise the key qualities when writing your application. For help selecting the relevant qualities for your course look at the overview and structure of your course on the University or College website.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Allowing others to read your personal statement, from a parent or guardian to a supportive friend, means that they may notice sections which could be explained better, flow nicer or points that you have missed. Sometimes you will find that it is easier for a friend to recognise your best qualities than it is to find them within yourself.

Give Evidence.

When you state that you have a particular quality that needs to be backed up with evidence. At first it can seem difficult to write about yourself without coming across as arrogant or over-confident however by showing where you have displayed a skill it suggests that this is not just your own opinion of yourself but something you have developed over time.

For example instead of saying ‘I have excellent communications skills’ expand on this by saying ‘I have developed my communication skills through my role as House Captain which required me to express my ideas about how the House system could progress at weekly meetings’.